When I spoke with friends, family and random people (mostly women) I met ten minutes before in the playground about weaning, every person said that I would feel depressed during the process. Nope, not me, I thought. I figured the joy of having my body back would more than make up for the fact that I no longer knew what to do with it. As with most things when it comes to being a mama, it's harder emotionally and easier physically than I expected.
Before I left for our quick trip 5,500 miles away, I pumped like mad to have enough milk for Mr. Monk's five days without the boob. Turns out, there was nearly the exact amount needed and he downed the bottles like there was a prize at the end. Clearly they were a good replacement for the real thing because for the past few days he has been refusing the milk machines. I'm not necessarily opposed to this because I wanted to wean him around a year, but I thought he'd at least put up a fight. Frankly, I think I'm a little hurt that he's turning up his nose at me. Literally, giving me the chin, like how dare I consider him a baby who would want to suckle with his mama. Even though I know this is the easiest way to transition to this next stage, I still feel like crying all the time. I assumed I would have to close up shop to great protest and now I can't even get my best customer to drop by for a visit. My little baby is all growns up. Color me ambivalent about this whole toddler deal.
In part, I think the rejection is due to his separation from me for a few days and his realization that the world doesn't revolve around my boobs. Maybe he's paying me back for leaving in some strange way? Oh please do not let my son be passive aggressive. I also may have lost a bit of the old supply when I accidentally electrocuted my chest in London and destroyed my power cord. Word to the wise--when calling a hotel front desk, telling them that you blew a fuse while pumping may not be the best choice of words. Perhaps batteries just don't work as well because I am only able to pump out a fraction of my normal output. At this point, me and my best friend, pumpette, might need to part ways. We've had a good run but lately I just feel bad about myself when I'm with her. And, I'm pretty sure she scared the old man sitting next to me on my plane ride back from England.
While I was happy to do it and grateful that I could, I was never that nursing loving mama. Although it was the most natural thing possible, it always seemed surprising and a little science fiction-y that I could nourish my baby with my booby. I found my groove with it after the first couple of weeks, but I definitely started the final countdown a few months ago. I am excited to get my breasts back to their previous uses (if only I could remember what those were). Yet, here are all these emotions that I told myself I wouldn't feel.
Breastfeeding (and hanging with pumpette) has taken up a good 30% portion of my job description. How am I going to fill that time now? At least I knew I could manage to pull down my shirt every so often. The teaching and raising a decent person part? That seems infinitely harder. It's just dawning on me that perhaps, in addition to the health benefits, some mamas continue nursing their young until they can ask for it because they want to still be necessary. Not coincidentally, I seem to be seeing a rather high number of pregnant women with babies around the 1 year mark. Right now it feels like my son definitely knows he doesn't need me for his sole source of nourishment. While that is wonderful, it's also painful. The letting go begins.